Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: volunteer

volunteer, v.t. Contrary to what some people may say, this is actually a transitive verb, as in I've volunteered you to do such-and-such task as opposed to *I've volunteered to do such-and-such task.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 9

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

Pornography degrades women. It also coarsens men. I don't need to prove that, because we all know it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quote of the week

"There is a difference between seeking the improvement of human behavior and declaring war on human nature. In that conflict, human nature is likely to win." — Michael Gerson

Cardinal on marriage: No one has the right to do what now?

Francis Cardinal George, Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, argues that "no one has the right to change the nature of marriage" and that "[m]arriage is what it is and always has been...." Really? We can add the Cardinal to the ever-growing list of people who want the rest of us to follow a holy book that they themselves ignore.

Magnet schools

Proponents of the "Harrison Bergeron" model of education are complaining that a local science magnet school is non-diverse, since African-Americans and Latinos are underrepresented. Nonetheless, European-Americans are also underrepresented, and one particular community of color — Asian-Americans — makes up 46% of the student body. In that case, what definition of "diversity" are people using? After all, a magnet school like that has to be the least effective tool of white supremacy ever.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 12. Referring to one another using feminine pronouns

Yes, that's what we all do, while listening to Minnie Ripperton on the eight-track players of our AMC Gremlins on our way to macramé class. Do you think you could use some stereotypes from this millennium? Not all of us miss what it was like to be gay in the seventies.

Today's vocabulary word: consequence

consequence, n. an effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier. A particularly important form of consequence is called an unintended consequence, although that happens only in response to other people's actions, not ours.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today's vocabulary word: gentrification

gentrification, n. what those other people do to the neighborhood that I discovered before it was cool and worked to upgrade; certainly nothing that I would ever do myself

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 8

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

As for the BDSM community, I’m sure I don’t have to explain the problem with people who get off on beating the shit out of and/or psychologically dominating each other.

Stuff gay men supposedly like: 11. Dupont Circle

The closing of Lambda Rising made official what people had long known unofficially: Dupont Circle is now only nominally D.C.'s gayborhood. The local queer population has been moving eastward, or out to the suburbs, at least since the eighties. LGBT-oriented stores have also moved eastward, leaving Dupont Circle increasingly dominated by chain stores. Thus, Dupont Circle increasingly combines the gayborhood feel and urbane sophistication of Tysons Corner with the cleanliness, safety, and easy parking of downtown D.C.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reality is negotiable. Dogma isn't.

It often amazes me what strong reality-deflector shields some people have. One, when someone was decrying the evils of gay adoption, I asked whether she knew of the studies that directly contradicted her assertions. She responded that yes, she did. No "but," no "therefore," not even a token attempt to dismiss the studies' credibility — she acknowledged the reality but chose to believe the exact opposite anyway.

I wish I could believe that such a person was an isolated exception, but I have no reason to believe that. Many people have a much stronger need to believe than to know, and their beliefs can withstand any amount of evidence or logic. All one can do is to present one's arguments so that at least third parties will see who has an argument and who simply believes with perfect faith in belief with perfect faith.

Quote of the week

‘You mean,’ Captain Penderton said, ‘that any fulfillment obtained at the expense of normalcy is wrong, and should not be allowed to bring happiness. In short, it is better, because it is morally honorable, for the square peg to keep scraping about the round hole rather than to discover and use the unorthodox square that would fit it?’

‘Why, you put it exactly right,’ the Major said. ‘Don’t you agree with me?’

- Carson McCullers, Reflections in a Golden Eye

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fabulous queer dating tip #19: The two shall become one, and you are that one.

Faithfully adhere to the self-evident truth that the relationship is always all about you, you, you. Tell everyone on your boyfriend's behalf what he thinks, wants, and does. Heck, tell him. Of course, it always coincides perfectly with what's convenient for you.

Naturally, he cannot possibly have any goal in life loftier than pleasing you, so be sure to extract concessions from him in terms of his career and (if he's still young enough) his education. Once those concessions become irremediable, you can think about dumping him for someone even more compliant.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First-Friday gallery openings

Many towns have regular evenings — First Friday, Third Thursday, Miscellaneous Mondays — when art galleries stay open late. In Dupont Circle's gallery scene, this event tends to turn into a dating scene for people who wish to appear sophisticated. Yet it's hard to appear sophisticated when you simply elbow your way to the back to get some wine and then stand around talking with your back to the art. The artists are often happy to talk to me simply because I actually pay at least as much attention to the art as to socializing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Religious right or P.C. left? Quote 7

In this series of blog posts, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read each quote and guess, before doing a Web search, whether someone in the religious right or the politically correct left said it.

[C]ertain queer people seem to think gender is some sort of choice about expressing themselves and/or how they want to be treated by society. Sometimes the phrase “gender identity” is used to express this idea, when in fact gender identity is a term used in the social sciences to refer to one’s awareness of the gender role one is expected to fill. In short, there is no choice about it. It is not some facet of someone’s being or personality or a choice of style.... They are muddying this important issue with their self-indulgent nonsense.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to argue when you can't be bothered to construct an argument

Just use those old standbys, the race card and the sex card. Here we see someone calling a lesbian of color (as one could have easily guessed from her blog) an "arrogant white queen." And here, a Conservapedian tries to discredit atheism and evolution by playing the race and sex cards. No, you may not ask how doing so proves either theism or creationism, nor may you point out the irony.

So now what?

If Obama didn't deliver on all of his promises to the LGBT community, he cannot realistically blame a lack of opportunity. Opportunity knocked, and on some issues, such as marriage and DADT, it even broke down the front door. If he either could not or, more likely, would not deliver then, what now?

Quote of the week

"It's easy to forget, in front of a cheering partisan crowd, that your base is not the country. Democrats forgot that and lost the House for it. The tea-party movement needs to learn from both their wins and their losses." - The Economist

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I did my civic duty this morning.

I sometimes wonder why I bother voting, since elections where I live tend to combine the pomp and circumstance of a Chicago back room with the edge-of-your seat suspense of a coronation. According to FiveThirtyEight, my Congresscritter has a 99.89% chance of reelection. Still, I got to vote against some state constitutional amendments that would increase the power of the state government or give special privileges to certain politically popular groups.

Today's vocabulary word: justice

justice, n. a contraction of "just us": We demand basic justice for ourselves, but you're welcome to continue oppressing those other people for all we care.